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China to Open Doors to Foreign Warehousing

By APICS staff | 13 | 14 | July 17, 2013

According to government sources, China is expected to allow foreign exchanges to open commodities warehouses in its free-trade zones, Reuters reports. This means the London Metal Exchange (LME), the world’s largest marketplace for industrial metals, is likely to receive considerable access to the country.

LME has sought to set up delivery networks in China for some time. Charles Li, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, promised to bring LME warehouses into China when his company acquired the business in December.

Based in London, LME is a futures exchange that also oversees a global warehouse network, promising delivery of consistent quality metals including lead, zinc, nickel, and tin. China’s position as a top consumer of raw materials could mean a significant boost to LME trading volumes, Reuters reports.“We need LME warehousing in China,” a senior metals industry source says. “Our clients want it, and we’ve been trying for six years to make this happen.”

Temporary Hiring on the Rise 

One corner of the US economy where hiring is on the rise is temporary work__unfortunately, it’s one where few people want to be hired, the Associated Press reports. Companies including Walmart, General Motors, and PepsiCo have been turning to temps, freelancers, contract workers, and consultants to perform more and more duties, leaving 17 million, or about 12 percent of all employed people, with only a tenuous tie to their companies.

The number of temps increased more than 50 percent since the end of the recession four years ago. The trend is being driven by uncertainty about the economy, employers’ concerns for payroll flexibility, and upcoming health care laws requiring medical coverage for permanent workers.

Temporary workers are expanding into sectors that historically have avoided them, including professional services providers such as lawyers, doctors, and information technology specialists. Temps typically earn lower pay and have fewer benefits than permanent workers, and they don’t tend to boost the economy in the same way.  

“There's been a generational shift toward a less committed relationship between the firm and the worker,” says Ethan Harris, global economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He adds that the changes may be taking root and becoming longer lasting.

India Lifts “Buy India” Restrictions

India has suspended certain import restrictions for electronics goods after only five months in effect, the Wall Street Journal reports. The requirement was that a certain percentage of telecommunications and electronic goods (based on the total price of the product) be manufactured in India, with the percentage increasing over time. The entire policy will undergo a review, and a revised version will be submitted within a few weeks.

India currently makes few of the components that comprise products targeted by the policy, such as mobile phones and laptops. The requirements were implemented to boost Indian manufacturing and cut down on electronics imports, which were on track to reach $400 billion by 2020 and become India’s biggest import.

The decision was met with praise by Indian trade groups. Industry advocates hope that new policies use more market-based incentives to expand India’s electronics manufacturing. Many American manufacturers in India wish to expand but are unable due to restrictions such as infrastructure, says Ron Somers, president of the US-India Business Council.

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